Coverage Question Series – Part 38
Post on January 18th, 2019
This is a continuing series in which we address policy coverage questions that we routinely discuss with you and your colleagues. The answers provided are based on the basic policy form, currently LPLP-1s (effective for all policies new or renewed as of May 1, 2018). Refer to your specific policy and any endorsements attached thereto that may change coverage or the answers provided here.
My client is unhappy with the annuity I sold him to assist with his estate plan, am I covered?
No. You thought by disclosing your commission to the client and suggesting that he seek other counsel before agreeing to the proposed estate plan, that included an annuity you would sell him, was enough to avoid the ethical violations. He has second thoughts about a year later. He now wants to significantly change his estate plan and no longer wants the annuity.
Beyond the ethical violations of selling an annuity to a client as part of the estate plan, there is no coverage under your policy. In order to sell annuities, you need to be a licensed insurance agent. See O.R.C. §3905.06. ““Professional Services” does not include services provided as an accountant/CPA, real estate agent, insurance agent, financial planner or advisor, or in any other similar professionally-licensed capacity.” The OBLIC policy is designed to insure against legal malpractice claims. There are other insurance products available in the market to protect oneself regarding other licenses you may carry, but the OBLIC policy form is not one of them.
One exception to the above limitation is the title agent endorsement. Attorneys who are also licensed title agents can be covered under the OBLIC policy form with the purchase of an endorsement. There are also more expansive E&O policies available for licensed title agents through the OSBA Insurance Agency that provides coverage specifically tailored to the risks of title agency work. Call Tammy, Danna, or Rick at 614-572-0616 if you want to find out what options are available for you.
As you should expect, these Q&A scenarios are based on simple hypotheticals. Coverage determinations for an actual claim are ultimately based on the unique facts, applicable law, and the Terms, Conditions, Limitations, Exclusions, and Endorsements of your policy.
Carl Marsh, Esq.